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#15189377
Noumenon wrote:And so on the consumption side, ...whatever people feel like producing, plus whatever is incentivized to be produced by labor credits.

Wouldn't we end up with a very large number of (for example) musical instruments, paintings, and handcarved figurines - along with clean toilets and emptied trashcans - and not enough of things that could improve people's lives but which are not strictly necessary or particularly exciting to make? Like say, comfortable chairs, extra soft toilet paper, mattresses with different degrees of firmness? I'm thinking that all things deemed "necessities" will be made to the bare minimum standard in order to receive the labor credits. So among other things, we'll have very raw buttocks.

You're assuming here that high-end products and niche products "improve the human condition or the lives of the consumers of these products."

There is no proof of this. People of very high income levels, with access to the most expensive niche products ever conceived... sometimes take their own lives.

While almost everyone is happier when income (and consumption) levels are very similar. You can always customize your "basic products," and in doing so, develop self esteem from interacting with your own environment in a productive way.
#15189381
QatzelOk wrote:You're assuming here that high-end products and niche products "improve the human condition or the lives of the consumers of these products."

There is no proof of this. People of very high income levels, with access to the most expensive niche products ever conceived... sometimes take their own lives.

While almost everyone is happier when income (and consumption) levels are very similar. You can always customize your "basic products," and in doing so, develop self esteem from interacting with your own environment in a productive way.


Fair, I'm not saying these "luxury" products are sufficient or necessary for happiness. But once we experience them it is difficult to go back to an inferior product without causing a lot of frustration and resentment. This is the reason why people will be fine with futons and ramen in a college dorm, but very rarely do people want to go back to that if they have any choice in the matter. In a way, the luxury product disappears from consciousness so that you are preoccupied with other things on which you stake your happiness. But living an impoverished lifestyle is only going to contribute to the things making you unhappy.
#15189382
QatzelOk wrote:Exactly. The first technologies created the first oligarchs. And the first social violence. And the first behaviorism (which is a form of social violence that reduces the quality of each human's existence)

Violence can come from one person finding a shiny rock that another becomes jealous of. It can come from a man being jealous of another looking at his girlfriend. One tribe might live in an area with great access to natural berries and fruits that another tribe wants to have and decides to fight over it. You don't need technology for oligarchs or violence, just power, no different than a gorilla beating back all of his competition and becoming the alpha. Oligarchs are simply those at the top of the dominance hierarchy in their society and this has always existed. You make up some weird narratives.
#15189384
Noumenon wrote:
Interesting. So its a way that laborers could "command" more labor in order to multiply the capability of their liberated labor?



No -- the *opposite*.

Any given 'batch' of (liberated) labor value, as represented in labor credits, or as a 'work shift' of voluntarily-provided liberated labor, is strictly *voluntary* and non-coerced / non-imposed.

This 'batch' of labor value should *not* vary in quality-times-quantity, as a discrete batch, at least according to the model, anyway -- 10 (hours) x 1 (labor credit per hour) = 10 labor credits, which could also next-fund 5 (hours) x 2 (labor credits per hour). Etc.

Any given potential liberated laborer (which is *everyone*, post-capitalism, by definition), can opt to *not-work*, subject to prevailing conditions and prevailing social sentiment, of course. (Objective [natural] reality, and objective-and-subjective *social* reality, respectively.)

So it's not so much 'commanding', as it's 'passing-it-forward', meaning that one's labor credits in-hand, necessarily from one's own past socially-necessary efforts, accomplished, allows one to *designate* and/or 'fund', premium rates (or whatever) of liberated labor, to the extent of hours that one can 'afford' -- even to the point of indicating *particular* people that one may favor.


Noumenon wrote:
So then there would be no "demand" in this economy, it would be entirely "supply" based.



No, sorry, there *is* demand in this economy, as shown in the 'periphery' (downward 'sinks') around the central 'point of production' / factory in the diagram.

Demand is ultimately *biological*, of course, which is why humanity has to have some kind of political economy that's suitable to serving human needs and wants, over the whole globe. The illustrative 'piles of stuff' implies that people are going to want to *take* from those piles, and society has a real-world interest in planning *beforehand* about how stuff can be taken from the piles, and who will replenish them, etc.


labor credits framework for 'communist supply & demand'

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https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338


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Noumenon wrote:
We could imagine a number of different piles of accumulated "stuff" represented the product of people's voluntary labor, and the purpose of the labor credits would be to ensure that certain necessary piles remain high enough,



Sure -- I think this could be said. More-administratively, given 'x' items of formally-expressed organic-demand, we now know that we need an 'x+e' number of item 'y' in 'pile y001'. (The 'e' stands for a certain *extra* amount of stuff produced, maybe 20% for example, at the discretion / wisdom of the workers there.)

If the liberated-workers there drifted-off, and inventories diminished, and organic-demand became more-intense, then people would have to collectively proactively address the labor shortage, and maybe pool together sufficient numbers of their own labor credits to make an offer of *more* labor credits per hour for the kind of liberated-labor that's now critically required.


Noumenon wrote:
while increasing the potential height of piles for those who contribute to the necessary piles and receive labor credits with which to command more labor.



Yes, hypothetically people could work as much as they want to increase-the-height-of-piles, but in terms of actual social *need*, the budget of publicly provided pooled labor credits, for scheduled shifts of liberated labor at certain rates of labor credits per hour, would soon dry-up after a certain point since no one would really want to personally fund *excess* unless there was a good reason for it. Those with labor credits would have the social means to 'designate' and 'fund' other people's pre-planned liberated labor work roles, for scheduled shifts, for planned and active projects.


Noumenon wrote:
And so on the consumption side, people would just take whatever they want from the nearest pile at any time? "First come first serve"?



Yeah, it *could* be that way, which would be the *simplest* -- an effortless, non-formal gift economy wherein liberated laborers post-capitalism would simply have to work enough to *replenish* the various piles / inventories. If something goes out of fashion, and the pile stays intact, so-be-it unless special attentions are socially needed to proactively *remove* the pile, for whatever reason, possibly environmental -- this would be the *socio-political*, or 'political' side of the post-capitalist political economy.


Noumenon wrote:
And also "take whatever you can get" - because there's no way on the consumption side to influence what kinds of things are produced and how much? It's just whatever people feel like producing, plus whatever is incentivized to be produced by labor credits.



Correct -- so people could 'consume' all kinds of *jet airliners*, maybe, especially initially, during the 'redistribution' part of the prerequisite proletarian revolution, but they'd soon realize that a plane requires a *crew* to properly prepare it for takeoff, etc. Maybe those claiming jet airliners, necessarily with their own person and physical presence, would want to offer hourly rates of labor credits for those who want to *maintain* airplanes.


Noumenon wrote:
Wouldn't we end up with a very large number of (for example) musical instruments, paintings, and handcarved figurines - along with clean toilets and emptied trashcans - and not enough of things that could improve people's lives but which are not strictly necessary or particularly exciting to make? Like say, comfortable chairs, extra soft toilet paper, mattresses with different degrees of firmness? I'm thinking that all things deemed "necessities" will be made to the bare minimum standard in order to receive the labor credits. So among other things, we'll have very raw buttocks.



Okay, thanks for the visual, but I don't think that more-specialized goods would be 'cheapified' material-economically -- if anything luxury goods production requires *higher-skilled* labor, so that kind of labor, post-capitalism, would be more *premium* and would attract higher rates of labor credits per hour. Actually, at *that* point -- luxury / specialty production -- society may just as well use the *market* system, with currency, for such 'peripheral' material concerns, since such items would be less-socially-critical, less-demanded and *scarcer*, by-definition, as I mentioned in the past. (See the 'Multi-Tiered' diagram.)

People could very well organize *socio-politically* / mass-consciously, to address any unintended reality of scratchy toilet paper, etc. In reality this kind of issue is usually just a different kind of *machine*, anyway, so it's not actually that big a deal.


Noumenon wrote:
There could also be more serious shortages, like say very particularized medical instruments that could be overlooked because of all the generalized ones that need to be incentivized with labor credits first.



Okay, as with any luxury / specialty production, higher-quality goods and services would require higher-skilled work roles, which would require more years of education / training / experience, which would attract higher rates of labor credits per hour for those kinds of liberated labor.

And, yeah, I'll readily admit that there would be a 'breaking point' for *anything*, where the labor / funding required, at some point, just wouldn't be *worth* it, for the product, and so the product / machine / whatever just wouldn't be produced, given the larger prevailing social norms, social politics, and attentions / efforts / labor.

What this system of *labor credits* does, in part, is to provide a *universalization* of forward-flowing-efforts, so that any outstanding / unmet 'projects' may reach the *whole world* (over the Internet) to inform everyone that work role 'x' is needed right now, for those who may want to *relocate* to work on that project personally.


Noumenon wrote:
Also, more generally, I'm concerned that production in this system will be very anarchic. It replaces the anarchy of individual demand based capitalist production with anarchy of free individual supply based production, and doesn't do enough to negotiate/balance between what people want to consume and what they want to produce. I think there is a tradeoff between those two things - you can't have total freedom on either side of the equation, without sacrificing freedom on the other side. I believe there is an optimal point between them. As a consumer, your demand that something is produced should not be an argument in itself that it should be. As a producer, your desire to produce something isn't an argument in itself that it should be produced either. What seems to be missing here is the holistic unity between supply and demand in a large generalized sense. A recognition that every producer is at the same time a consumer. In short, I don't think your system is communist enough (or maybe at all!).



Well, just as you're asserting / contending here that there would be *no* social dynamism, I'll assert and contend that there *would* be social dynamism. People could certainly use social media, then as now, to say what they think should be produced, and to get others who share that sentiment to 'join' and express that sentiment as well.

Yeah, everyone could just decide to be 'rock stars', post-capitalism, favoring their own life and interests almost exclusively to the abandonment of everything-else / everything social, but I think that, in reality, this wouldn't be the case. As long as *some* people wanted to do the gruntwork for everyone else's benefit, then *enough* would get done, preferably on labor-leveraging computerized automated mass industrial production, for everyone to get the things they most needed, and maybe even some of what they *want*, too -- the most-common items, anyway.

Maybe such a society would mandate *some* rudimentary revolving work roles as a bare minimum for everyone, so that the most critical stuff doesn't get *overlooked* by everyone.


Noumenon wrote:
Marxism has a well-known producerist / workerist bias. Additionally, I think that 19th century romanticism is deeply baked into it. The idea that we could "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and debate philosophy in the evening" - as nice as that sounds - brings to mind a kind of aristocratic luxury with little concern for what needs to be done in a more utilitarian sense to keep the world running. I think also that a post-anthropocentric view makes this ideal seem a little ridiculous. What does all that matter if we're going to be boiling inside our atmosphere? We should all be directing our mass of labor towards solving the most essential global problems. Fuck what you want to do.



Sure -- I can appreciate the greater common good, and that not everything in the world and political economy is individualist-consumerist. Proceed, if you like.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that if you make picking up garbage a kind of "throwaway" task or afterthought, you're going to end up with a lot of it piling up everywhere. There is a whole sophisticated system to deal with waste, I know someone who is in that industry.

Clean working, living, and public spaces is essential to maintaining their integrity. Let that go to shit and everything will go to shit. Because once it reaches a critical mass then it affects people's psychology. A certain amount of filth becomes normalized, and then more, and before you know it we're all living in it and accepting it as normal. And we'll be physically as well as mentally sick, and the quality of our collective decision making process suffers.

The necessary should be prioritized first in an economy, and if anything the unessential should be the afterthought, not the essential. Capitalism gets that backwards. And I think we should be wary of replacing absolutist consumerist whimsy with absolute producerist whimsy.



Yup. I think the average person is *mature* enough to act accordingly, and post-capitalist collective work roles would be socially reasonable, especially once freed from having to work for the aggrandizement of private property.


Noumenon wrote:
Kelley which makes the blue book for cars is a private corporation. Wikipedia is run by a non-profit organization. I'm just not seeing how the initial valuation occurs and who is getting together to decide on this valuation. Even the most decentralized process still requires some kind of framework or something to be set up, and some organization to maintain that framework and establish standards (such as writing, sending out, and compiling the surveys). And then if that valuation is only a recommendation, and the actual valuation is decided by the participants in the work project, how do they determine it?

Let's say workers in one locale decide that cleaning a toilet is worth 100 labor credits. The recommended value by whatever blue book organization was 80 labor credits. So then they do it and all must recognize that this was worth 100 labor credits? Who is giving the labor credits to them or adding them to the ledger? And how is the incentivization process supposed to work on a societal level if every local group of workers can alter the valuation at will?



Sure, and thanks for the thoughtful input.

Those who *want* to do liberated labor for labor credits will *necessarily* have to find formally expressed *social need* -- perhaps many in a particular locality have been socially busy lately, with week-in week-out meetings and topics being discussed all over the place, and they've let-slip their daily household toilet-cleaning. Some have been griping and groaning about it, and word gets out, and those workers in that one locale (the same, or nearby, perhaps) announce that they'll help anyone and everyone there who wants their toilets cleaned, but it has to be for 100 labor credits a pop. (The exit-survey work role index says '80'.)

Maybe everyone nearby hears about this offer, but local social-convention things happen to be wrapping-up just around that time, and people start returning to their homes, and their attentions turn to tidying up. *Some* want their toilets done, for 100 labor credits, and so it happens. This would be a (post-capitalist, liberated-labor) *service*, and could really be *anything*, from anyone, to anyone.

Actually, *everything* post-capitalism would be a *service*, because there's no 'ownership', as in 'owning goods', and as in 'paying for goods', because that would be *commodification* and wouldn't be congruent with communism. Goods / products would all be for personal *consumption*, or use, or would be parts of some larger *project*, as for common social infrastructure like a train station or whatever.

Sure, anyone could 'alter the valuation at will', so-to-speak, because *anyone* could charge *anything* for their liberated labor, or even *withhold* it from society, and it really wouldn't matter. They could still access the commons, for their own personal needs and wants, whether they did labor or not, and others *would* want to commit some of their own personal (voluntary) (liberated) labor for the social good. If *everyone* withheld their labor generally then that society would soon be pretty shitty, as you outlined.

Ultimately labor credits would have to be *issued*, for their existence, as you're pointing out, and this could be by a *locality*, on a locality-*debt* basis, or not. Those of the locality would all be individually-proportionately responsible for all outstanding labor-credit debt issued by their locality. Journalism would undoubtedly continue to exist, and could readily document all of this kind of stuff, since it would all automatically be 'newsworthy' and socially significant.

If those from the debt-issuing locality went out, to other localities, to voluntarily do hours of liberated labor, to get labor credits, to bring-back to their debt-burdened locality, to *underwrite* the debt, then that locality would *no longer* be in debt, since the labor credits they previously issued are now *backed* by actual socially-necessary work done, represented by the labor credits brought-back.

If virtually *all* localities just issued batches of their own debt-based labor credits, willy-nilly, whenever, repeatedly, then it would be up to the *liberated laborers* to pick-and-choose which localities they would actually work for, if any, for particular-locality issued debt-burdened labor credits. Maybe some localities' own labor credits would be considered relatively more-'worthy' of receipt, than others -- *reputation*. Those localities, if any, who *did* actually work to bring back labor credits to underwrite their own labor credits out of debt, would *instantly* have a much better reputation than all the others who continued to *remain* debt-burdened in the 'value' / reputation of *their* own localities' labor credits.

Hell, this could even happen on the *individual* level, for *individual* IOUs -- which is what debt-based labor credits basically are -- though I haven't *developed* this model for that, exactly. If I agree to clean your toilet and you promise me 100 labor credits, and you issue me a 100LC 'IOU' once I'm done with my work, what is *that* IOU worth, exactly? Will you clean *my* toilet the next weekend, for the same amount? Will you go out and do work for at least 100 labor credits, to remit to me, the same week?


Noumenon wrote:
And I would contend that privileging the determination of those piles by people-as-workers over people-as-consumers is not communism. Because people's needs should be just as determinant over what is produced as people's desire of what to produce. We need not have commodification for there to be some formal system whereby people's needs as consumers can be communicated to producers. Otherwise you're all "from each according to his ability" and instead of "to each according to his need" it's more like "to each whatever is left over after we all exercise our abilities chaotically."



Yeah -- I happened to have had the exact same critique, of a 'stock [inventory] rotation system' poster, years ago, back at the RevLeft discussion board.

The 'missing mechanism' here, I would argue, is simply a regular method by which people could make 'demands', individually or collectively, out to everyone else in that locality, and greater (consider PoFo, by *geography*, for example).

Here's the 'demand' side, including anything *novel*, which may or may not *resonate* with others, at greater scales:



consumption [demand] -- Every person in a locality has a standard, one-through-infinity ranking system of political demands available to them, updated daily


consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination


consumption [demand] -- A regular, routine system of mass individual political demand pooling -- as with spreadsheet templates and email -- must be in continuous operation so as to aggregate cumulative demands into the political process



https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338



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Noumenon wrote:
That's a lot of "maybes." I think that you're relying too much on spontaneous emergent order. While I don't doubt that there would be some such thing - and it is present in capitalism too, as Hayek pointed out - without centralized organization there's going to be some very massive gaps and deficiencies in this order, just like with capitalism. The order which emerges is most likely to serve that only of the local participants, at best. Any externalized costs such as to the environment or to the larger social body as a whole, are unlikely to be accounted for.

What if there is a town D which is down the river from C, and after A,B, and C all work out the production of x for themselves, they receive the runoff from the pollutants involved in producing x?



Yeah, well, then, that's a *political* issue, and would have to be discussed by everyone in all towns, and taken-care-of.


Noumenon wrote:
What about the fish in the river, do they get an input in how much x is produced also?



Sure -- maybe technology would enable fish to participate on PoFo, and they could post their experiences, in words, as well.


Noumenon wrote:
Wouldn't towns A and B then competitively bid to attract the star liberated laborers from town C to the projects benefiting their locality?



Sure -- where's the problem with that?


Noumenon wrote:
Yeah I can only imagine it must feel like a witch hunt for women trying to get an abortion in this state now. We can only hope this continues hurting Republicans in the general election. The only reason they were trying to cancel the results is because it is getting close enough that Texas might actually turn blue. Overall, I think that everything about Trumpian right-wing populism right now are the actions of a cornered animal that knows there is no way out from demographic change.



Yeah, that's about the empirically correct assessment. When I was growing up I thought it was something about the *baby boomer* generation in particular, to have such avalanches of social-assholism come tumbling down, but as I became more politically-literate I realized that's just how the whole system *is* -- the U.S. still hasn't dispensed with its past *aristocracy*, basically, while France *did*, decisively, in the French Revolution.


Noumenon wrote:
I do think that the critical aspects of political economy should be determined by those who do the work, not those who live off of it.



Okay, and I think your politics is more 'orthodox' with this distinction, while I've come to look at the structure *logistically*, and prefer to emphasize the 'human need' / 'organic-demand' aspect as the independent / determining variable, plus I have an eye on current *technologies* that would serve to *highly leverage* human labor power in the conceivable present-day-based post-capitalist political economy.


Components of Social Production

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‭History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle

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Noumenon wrote:
But I think it is a complex dialectical relationship between processes determined by central authority and external decentralized processes. Attempting to dominate the latter by means of the former is Stalinism, while suppressing the need for the former by privileging the latter is anarchism. I am advocating something in between, a flow from centralization to decentralization balanced by an opposite flow from decentralization to centralization.

I believe that this is the only valid process for determining what gets done and by whom in a way that is at the same time liberating and tied down to what is socially necessary. In your circular system, blood flows from your heart to all the parts of your body, and then it comes back to be pumped out again. A flow that only occurs in one direction results in a very dead human. Likewise, a society which only flows from centralization to decentralization or the opposite would be inoperable. The flows happen whether you like it or not - even in the midst of Stalinist oppression. But the question is, can they both be harnessed for the social good. That would be the communist solution in my view.



I'll suggest that my 'Emergent Central Planning' approach covers the same terrain as what you're describing. Feel free to comment.


Emergent Central Planning

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Noumenon wrote:
I think that to some extent, people are already producing for themselves under capitalism. People-as-consumers issue demands in the form of money which people-as-workers are commanded to supply. The capitalists, in a way, insert themselves in the middle in order to form a conduit of this self-oppression, by linking consumer demand with supply of labor through the nexis of profit.

In my view, it is not so much the monocled top hat capitalist laughing his way to the bank as he exploits us all for his own gain. Although it is that somewhat. Rather it is a nexus that becomes cancerous or diseased by serving itself moreso than the social body. Like plaque build up in the arterial system.

Even if you scrape off this unnecessary crap, you have to deeply consider how the flows of the social body are set up. Because there is no guarantee it will be spontaneously cohesive. In fact I'm pretty sure it won't be.



Sure. No contention.


Noumenon wrote:
There are simply too many people with too many demands of what goods they need and want to produce to leave the organization of it all to chance.



Yes, and I don't mean to *imply* that the post-capitalist political-economic social organization should be left to chance, or to any kind of material-economy-facilitated economic *spontaneity*, as might be interpreted from my 'labor credits' model.

I think regular everyday *discussions* could take place, everywhere, as on PoFo, so that social organization can happen according to *topic*, or *chronology*, or *geography*, or *relative importance*, etc. -- perhaps done as simply as a *sort* of one's threads that one is subscribed to.

No one would necessarily be so socially *disconnected* and *disempowered* as people are currently under capitalism's economic *alienation*.

I'll ask you to consider each and every person on the planet individually *listing* their own personally-considered most *important* items, according to *priority* (#1, #2, #3, etc.), for personal consumption, and for social urgency, potentially daily.


Noumenon wrote:
I don't think that fascism is purely caused by bourgeois geopolitics. Hatred, violence and oppression have deep roots in human history. In fact somewhat of the bourgeois liberal order helps mitigate against that. Which is why the Jan 6 insurrection was a bad thing and the bourgeois liberal order is preferable to a fascist takeover.



Okay, you can look at such (geo-)political developments in a 'cultural', 'spiritual' way if you like, but I think you ended this segment better than you began it -- yes, the bourgeois nation-state is (socially-historically) preferable to the return of a privileged (fascist) aristocracy.


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ckaihatsu wrote:
No, the idea is that the multipliers would be determined by the balance of material-labor-*supply* and popular-localist-*demand*, post-capitalism. Easier socially-necessary tasks like 'picking berries', as someone suggested once, would probably find more 'takers', and those who want that kind of labor done wouldn't have to pile up that many labor credits for the required liberated labor for it. In a less-formal instance of such a 'gift economy' political economy maybe labor credits wouldn't be used *at all*, or not very much, and people would typically pick blueberries sufficiently for the local organic-demand.



Noumenon wrote:
So it seems like demand influences production in this system in a very organic, localized, unplanned way.

I think we have to think of demand signals and supply signals as part of one giant social organism, like one big tree for example. Or actually lets say there are two big trees, one representing organic supply and one organic demand. They may branch off in a bunch of different ways but are nonetheless organized as a coherent whole. The problem of political economy is to plant them in such a way that they can grow harmoniously, maybe they even wrap around each other like some of those intertwined trees you see.

I think that Marxism is from the perspective of the supply tree only. It takes what is "socially necessary" as a given, like holding the demand tree fixed, and then trying to maximize the freedom for growth of the supply tree. It doesn't allow very much agency for social necessity and organic demand - it can only respond and react to what organic supply does. You might say that organic supply represents the masculine principle of action and exertion and organic demand, the feminine Other to Marxism, which gratefully accepts and accommodates the masculine principle.

My first attempt at feminist analysis haha.



'Demand' / 'demand signals' / 'organic demand' / 'demand tree' / 'socially necessary' = *consumption*.

'Supply' / 'supply signals' / 'organic supply' / 'supply tree' = *production* (with labor power).

So, sure, I'd concur that 'socially necessary [consumption]' is the 'given', *independent*, *determining* variable in Marxism, and my 'labor credits' model / framework / approach is *congruent* with this, possibly even more-so than a more-orthodox *worker-consumer* necessary *duality*.

I mean to say that not everything that everyone does is necessarily going to be *socially beneficial*, or 'socially necessary', and so then how are we supposed to *address* that inherent material schism between 'work for the common social good' and 'work for oneself' -- ? How do we *schedule* for it -- ?

I'll simply restate that a post-capitalist collectivist political economy would intrinsically have a collective interest in *automating* as much work as possible, so that *no one* would have to do it.


Noumenon wrote:
Of course. Not even the most connected and powerful node in a network determines its overall shape. But nonetheless, the network is composed of nodes. And all together, they influence its shape. There is a powerful potentiality in the movement of nodes, if you can move them all a bit in the same direction. I think that is the potentiality represented by fascism on the one side, or communism on the other. The error of communism under the influence of Marxism, is to assume that the network is historically determined to take shape in its favor. It is insufficiently dialectical in molding its ideology to suit the present state of the network in order to activate it in an optimal way. Whereas fascism, with no concern for truth or coherence but only reaction, instantly takes whatever shape is optimal for activating as many of the nodes as possible in a reactionary direction.

To put it bluntly, fascism is going to win unless communism gets with the times and loses its puritan attitude towards capital and markets. It is relegating itself to a bespoke, highly customized ideology for university educated middle class white people. Because it refuses to adapt to and mold itself modern liberal sensibilities - its entire potential power base - it leaves liberals theoretically and practically defenseless against an increasingly radicalized right. It is too proud and pure to debase itself with "bourgeois" attitudes - not seeing how these have already been integrated and become part of us - and sets itself apart from history, in irrelevance.



You're treating politics like it's a *popularity contest* -- no, the political economy doesn't shapeshift according to the whims of the electoral winners. I'll refer you to base-and-superstructure at this point.

Also you're conflating communism with liberalism, inadvertently, and the entirety of your critique of communism here rests on this characterization which you may want to *elaborate* on -- '[communism's] puritan attitude towards capital and markets'.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that if Marx were alive today, not only would he have completely rewritten Capital but he would have some extremely harsh criticisms of Marxists who hew too closely to the original teachings.



Sure, we could say that the *practice* of Marx's Marxism was an objective of *progressive taxation* at the time, which *would be* transformative, but also -- as with *all* political-minded fetishes / objectives -- was *fetishized* and wouldn't necessarily be the strategy-of-choice for *today's* situation.


Noumenon wrote:
Ok. Well here is a link to the paper if anyone reading is interested.

Flisfeder - "Postmodern Marxism Today: Jameson, Žižek, and the Demise of Symbolic Efficiency"
http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/IJZS/ ... /view/1105

I think we would be so much better off if Marxists could even follow a fraction of the intellectual developments charted by these thinkers.



I'm hearing *paeans* here, presumably, but if you have any actual political *insight* from this intellectual school that you think would be *pertinent* here, well let's *hear* it then.


Noumenon wrote:
There's not going to be equal opportunity across the whole spectrum of production for an alternative, worker-centric economy. But that doesn't mean there is no opportunity at all. And getting together with other workers to do actual real things in the really-existing economy is certainly better than sitting on the sidelines waiting for the revolution. That would be the true "retro" in my opinion.

The fact that the internet has completely fossilized into a corporate form of Facebook, Twitter, etc, means that there is opportunity for living, breathing creativity. Nothing is ever absolute, there are always interesting things happening even if in the cracks and corners. For example, I just heard of this thing called "Self hosting" where people are setting up their own servers in order to create an alternative internet.



Okay -- this, too, I would say, as with anything from the Frankfurt School, is more of a 'media instance', than a techological-historical *development*, for good or ill. (Postmodernism seems to be synonymous with *getting steamrolled* by bourgeois *media* technological developments.)


Noumenon wrote:
Maybe the dictatorship of the proleteriat is only ever an orienting principle, a vision which coheres together progressive working class forces. Not something that will ever actually happen. What if the actual evolution of political economy is the successive overthrow and replacement of one form of class rule for another? In the process, some problems are solved, new ones are created, history continues.



And why bother taking-a-side -- ? One could just passively, intellectually 'take a tour' of class politics, and point-out certain sightseeing 'attractions' while sipping on an oversized soft drink.


Noumenon wrote:
But if we stick to a purist politics of complete worker rule or nothing, what if this is a form of infantile left communism which Lenin criticized as historically irrelevant?



It's not that workers control is not politically significant / relevant, or that it's not the ultimate aim, but rather that it's not immediately *feasible* for realization, especially if the empirical *political terrain* is not so *conducive* to immediate victory right now.


Noumenon wrote:
It will never not be the case that the current state of the system can be traced to previous states. Anything else is magical thinking, that we can create something brand new with no historical precedent.



And yet that's what communism is -- a decisive *break* with bourgeois hegemony, history, norms, practices, culture, etc. (I would argue).

Collective workers control of social production *is* almost unprecedented.


Noumenon wrote:
I would hope that the right to not be raped or tortured would persist regardless of which society you're in. But other "rights" may be more relative or contextual, like the right to health care or to choose abortion.



One would presume so -- more-to-the-point is what 'rights' / civil society *you* would fight for.


Noumenon wrote:
My only point is that both the universal and particular should be considered and neither one assumed a priori.



Okay.


Noumenon wrote:
I wouldn't say we are doomed to deal with racism and sexism forever. But yes, I do think they have roots in a number of sources, besides just the class division. Psychological preference for the familiar, and pleasure in organizing an in-group contrasted with an out-group, combined with race and sex being the easiest/most convenient markers of division.



Hmmmm, sorry to hear it -- do you think society could *potentially* be more meritocratic- / egalitarian-minded in a post-capitalist political-economy context, than it is now -- ? Would those of that society 'work' at it, consciously -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
Good. I think that since class conflict never ends, we should do whatever we can to win concessions in the here and now from the elite class. Ideally, the more experienced the working class gets at this, the better it will get. We've been torn apart by anti-union propaganda and rapidly shifting economic terrain, but its good to hear we're getting somewhat of a footing.



Yes, agreed.


Noumenon wrote:
It's not about "should." Its about the reality of what exists. From the perspective of a fish, there are sharks, there always have been, and there always will be. If it is not sharks it will be something else (currently, humans being the greatest threat to fish and shark populations). They fulfill an evolutionary niche.

Given this fact, fish either adapt or die. I'm saying that the working class should take the same attitude. Recognize and understand our class position completely, realize its internal power. But don't pine away for a fantasy of complete eternal victory.

I think that if you talk to minorities, for example African americans, many of them have long since adopted this attitude. Oppression has hardened them, and in many ways made them stronger and able to fight back. I think that utopian theorizing now more than ever is the privilege of white people with too much time on their hands. Like us, debating this. (Making the wild guess that you are also white lol, like me. Correct me if I'm wrong).



Well, I don't *disparage* theory / theorizing, as you do. I think it's quite *important*, and *crucial*, mostly because proletarian revolution has to be mass-*conscious*, so why-not just discuss it in advance, at least, as we're doing here.


Consciousness, A Material Definition

Spoiler: show
Image



Your metaphor is forcing the world's working class to sound *passive* and *incapable*, unfortunately, which is *definitely* not revolutionary.

Ethnically I'm half Japanese and half Lithuanian. My avatar photo is me.

Also:


Race, class and social conflict in the United States

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/0 ... e-s06.html


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
As long as the world's workers can agree on *empirical* goals, such as controlling workplaces, then I'll leave *cultural* concerns to yourself, if you like.



Noumenon wrote:
I agree with empirical goals of increased worker power and control. I also think we should have empirical goals of cultural victory, such as LGBTQ rights and diminished racism. There is no reason why these goals should be mutually exclusive.



Your 'cultural victory' would be 'political victory' in my book.


Noumenon wrote:
I agree - the automation revolution will be pretty useless to any except the rich if they own all the robots. But I'm not dismissing the idea that markets will be part of this somehow. Perhaps there would exist a multiplicity of worker owned firms which utilize robot labor and sell the resulting product in markets.



Um, it's *way* more serious than this -- Marx's Declining Rate of Profit indicates that capitalist employers may want to class-consciously *not* fully-automate because then there would be no organic labor value in the production process, and no profits for *anyone*, as a result. It's comparable to why the capitalists don't allow *full employment*, for consciously class-hegemonic reasons.


Noumenon wrote:
Yes - and I contend there will always be some form of class rule and economic servitude. Any freedom the working classes get has to be won by fighting for it. They can never rest. Even if they become strong enough to overthrow the government and implement a new system, a new class rule will emerge just like it did in 20th century communism. I think we will get better results if we anticipate the formation of this new class rule and do everything possible to minimize its threat. Announcing the rule of the proletariat prematurely (and it will always be prematurely), while de facto you have class rule, gets you Stalinism.



Oh, so you're fatalistically saying that Stalinism is inevitable. You're neither pro-working-class, nor pro-revolutionary, if you think that the working class can't organize social production for itself, on its own terms, independently of the capitalists, with this line of yours.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that if you were able to implement a universal basic income plus universal healthcare, that would go a very long way towards providing for people's basic needs in capitalism. The much larger problem for capitalism like you mentioned is overproduction and overconsumption, producing chaotically for profit. Which means that it creates external costs to the environment that we all have to suffer.

Add a land value tax and rent control to the UBI and UH, and that covers most of the bases of individual human need. But we need to think bigger in terms of what do we need collectively as a species to survive. That is what capitalism is not solving in my view.



You're saying that capitalism's reformist measures are *insufficient* to address global warming and climate change. I agree, but you've just written-off (in the previous segment) the world proletariat's *agency* for getting humanity past class-divided social relations, once and for all, as for the purpose of comprehensively stopping global warming -- and the pandemic, too, for that matter.


Noumenon wrote:
We are now in a post-industrial economy with the majority of economic activity occurring in professional management type jobs, in the upper tier of labor, and service industry jobs, on the lower tier.



Nope, sorry -- this is a fundamental *divergence* in our respective politics, because the world *continues* to utilize industrial-manufacturing processes, like for the aforementioned *microchips* in fucking-everything. Finance itself is *not* materially-economically productive of *commodities*. (Finance / capital is *not* a service-commodity.)


Noumenon wrote:
We're going to have to think way beyond producing the same stuff in a different class arrangement. We need to consciously produce a totally different array of stuff which is environmentally sustainable and healthy for the collective human organism as well.



Okay, no contention.


Noumenon wrote:
That implies a different class production arrangement as well, but that need not be centered as the crux of the whole problem.



Well, either the currently-existing *capitalism* is the political-economy context for 'environmentally sustainable' production, or else it's *not*, and then some *other* political-economy has to *supersede* and *replace* it.


Noumenon wrote:
Yes, we can have a dialectical economy, in which social needs are expressed both through a central organizing body and in a decentralized fashion through people's individual choices (including the freedom to exit a certain economic arrangement into another one).

There is no such thing as pure liberation. "Freedom is the recognition of necessity" - Hegel. I would add to that that our yearning for freedom is itself part of necessity. But that doesn't guarantee that it will ever be satisfied completely. In fact it is the existence of obstacles to our freedom, and the potential for overcoming them, which makes us alive.



Again, I'm *not* a Stalinist, so I don't advocate any 'central organizing body', because such would have *separate / separatist organizational interests* from the rest of society and would most-likely not be a part of producing socially necessary commodities for the social good, as *workers* do.

I use the term 'liberated', and not 'freedom', because 'liberated' means *liberated from the rule of private property*, which is *specific*. 'Freedom' comes from past historical merchant-minded *bourgeois* rights, over monarchical / aristocratic rule.


Noumenon wrote:
Which is why you don't want to stake everything on taking the reigns of central power. I would say we should have dual power in the sense of building worker organization outside the state while at the same time trying to take control of it. They aren't mutually exclusive - the former provides the power base for the latter, and victories achieved in state legislation can create more favorable conditions for building external power.



No contention. Do you have any comment on *nationalization*, then -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
I might be, in a sense. Or maybe I am just a Leninist without the Marxist part lol. anarco-Leninist?



Fair enough. I'll proffer the following diagram:


[7] Syndicalism-Socialism-Communism Transition Diagram

Spoiler: show
Image



---


Noumenon wrote:
I believe we should aim for a dialectical political-economy which exhibits the optimal balance of centralization versus decentralization. The exact details of that are difficult to prescribe universally. But there would be certain things recognized and protected as universal, such as basic human rights, and certain problems which we agree to confront globally, like climate change and pollution. Other things would be recognized as the domain of the local and decentralized. Many forms of liberated labor could flourish on a local level with a spontaneously emerging order. Different forms of local government would be experimented with with different microspheres. But all of this would occur under the aegis of a central authority, the state, which provides a global skeletal framework for the organic flesh of localized political economy to attach to, and which charts out the optimal flows which should occur, governing from the top down when necessary. The central authority would be indirectly and representatively democratic and worker controlled. But there would be no illusion of a classless society, since every society with a central authority by definition must involve class rule of some kind. And every society must have a central authority. So then the only question is the exact shape it takes. Conditions will never be perfect for the working class so it will always have to push back and fight against the central authority. But this is all part of the dialectic, and it can never be any other way.



Hmmmm, global-Stalinistic -- that's a new one, though I can see the current pertinence, given today's 'global-medievalism' (my terming) of power distribution. You're saying 'nationalization', but at the *global* scale. Interesting.
Last edited by ckaihatsu on 09 Sep 2021 01:39, edited 1 time in total.
#15189385
QatzelOk wrote:
You're assuming here that high-end products and niche products "improve the human condition or the lives of the consumers of these products."

There is no proof of this. People of very high income levels, with access to the most expensive niche products ever conceived... sometimes take their own lives.

While almost everyone is happier when income (and consumption) levels are very similar. You can always customize your "basic products," and in doing so, develop self esteem from interacting with your own environment in a productive way.



Because of too many one-star ratings on the stuff they bought -- ?

I think your reasoning is a little *spurious* here....
#15189424
Noumenon wrote:
central authority, the state, [...] charts out the optimal flows which should occur,



I have to add that I find this / Stalinist politics to be quite *presumptuous*. Why are you now advocating for the central-planning 'blueprint' approach when we both know that such is inherently, consistently *unworkable* -- ?

Sure, today we have AI, so 'optimal flows' is probably *doable* these days, but there would still have to be those *specialists*, of the state, to *put in* the info and/or to model it 'appropriately' -- controversial, plus those administrator roles will *not* be producing commodities for society as workers do, which I'll never tire of repeating.
#15189584
Noumenon wrote:Fair, I'm not saying these "luxury" products are sufficient or necessary for happiness. But once we experience them it is difficult to go back to an inferior product without causing a lot of frustration and resentment.

Quitting smoking, and reverting to a life of "cigarette-less-ness" is frustrating at first, but ultimately very satisfying and life improving.

Most of our luxury consumption is a lot like cigarettes.

This is the reason why people will be fine with futons and ramen in a college dorm, but very rarely do people want to go back to that if they have any choice in the matter.

Neither raman noodles nor futons, represent "the basics of life." Students consume these things because they don't know how to cook, or to try a new type of bedding. So your examples are weak for making your point.

If you use 'cigarette smoking' as your example of a luxury, my point is easier to grasp.


...living an impoverished lifestyle is only going to contribute to the things making you unhappy.

"Impoverished' is always measured in relation to other people. So if everyone has basically what you have, you won't feel impoverished. When camping, you can't see the things you left behind, like your laptop or backyard shed project. These things become unimportant in your daily routine. All tech could disappear into the History books like this.
#15189587
ckaihatsu wrote:Um, so where exactly do you camp at -- ?

A place that doesn't allow you to indulge in electronic distraction while roughing it.

This, in my experience, creates the best human character: techless socialization and cooperation.
#15189819
ckaihatsu wrote:Sorry, just trying to make a joke that you're not seeing you left a *laptop* behind at your campsite....

(Fun.)

Let me make the same point another way so that you don't get too lost in the specific words I used above in the allegory of the laptop-less camping adventure.

Bicycling for hours gives me time away from screens. I usually leave my phone at home, and go for a 5 hour bike ride, and this has probably kept me sane. Being screenless for long periods. Stimulated only by nature and the movement of my own body in it.

Constant screen watching and phone talking... is turning huge numbers of people really ditzy (dumb) and eroding whatever tiny personalities they still had after all the video games and movies.

Just like the environment, the human character is being callously destroyed by technology, and that spirituality-less and hyper-materialist entity known as The WestTM is ground zero for this decay in human character.
#15189823
QatzelOk wrote:
Let me make the same point another way so that you don't get too lost in the specific words I used above in the allegory of the laptop-less camping adventure.

Bicycling for hours gives me time away from screens. I usually leave my phone at home, and go for a 5 hour bike ride, and this has probably kept me sane. Being screenless for long periods. Stimulated only by nature and the movement of my own body in it.

Constant screen watching and phone talking... is turning huge numbers of people really ditzy (dumb) and eroding whatever tiny personalities they still had after all the video games and movies.

Just like the environment, the human character is being callously destroyed by technology, and that spirituality-less and hyper-materialist entity known as The WestTM is ground zero for this decay in human character.



You're gonna *love* this....


The Animatrix (2003)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328832/
#15189923
ckaihatsu wrote:You're gonna *love* this....


The Animatrix (2003)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328832/

I watched a few minutes of the trailer, and it is torture.

The scene-changes are split second. No image is on the screen for a few seconds. There is absolutely no time to make sense or criticize anything. The viewer is just sent into fight-or-flight panic.

Because Westerners watch so much fight-or-flight panic-inducing media (fast-paced), they are damaged in a way that makes them over-eat and under-think.

I don't want this in my life at all.

The West is heading for the dumpster because so many of its people have been damaged by this kind of manipulative and addictive product.
#15189927
QatzelOk wrote:
I watched a few minutes of the trailer, and it is torture.

The scene-changes are split second. No image is on the screen for a few seconds. There is absolutely no time to make sense or criticize anything. The viewer is just sent into fight-or-flight panic.

Because Westerners watch so much fight-or-flight panic-inducing media (fast-paced), they are damaged in a way that makes them over-eat and under-think.

I don't want this in my life at all.

The West is heading for the dumpster because so many of its people have been damaged by this kind of manipulative and addictive product.



Delicate flower, huh -- ?


x D
#15189929
ckaihatsu wrote:Delicate flower, huh -- ?

Well, I don't see the benefits of damaging myself with daily fight-or-flight.

Self-harm, in our system, is a way of proving to your master that you will do ANYTHING he asks you to.

Watching TV makes people more callous, and disconnects them from other people. So, no.
#15189931
QatzelOk wrote:
Well, I don't see the benefits of damaging myself with daily fight-or-flight.

Self-harm, in our system, is a way of proving to your master that you will do ANYTHING he asks you to.

Watching TV makes people more callous, and disconnects them from other people. So, no.



Also the human body can't physically withstand going faster than 40 miles per hour.


= D
#15190391
ckaihatsu wrote:Also the human body can't physically withstand going faster than 40 miles per hour.

Except on roller coasters and motorcycles?

Our bodies weren't made to go this fast, and doing so makes us perk up like dogs do, and for similar reasons: it triggers some natural feelings unnaturally.

Dogs are able to smell thousands of smells pass by at high speed, and humans get a sexual-thrill from g-force turns and accelaration. Heroin and cocaine also imitate (but magnify 100x) some natural human feelings that come from using your body to do physical labor.

The West is heading into the dark orifice of fakeness TM and the numbness and stupidity that comes from being limited to it.
#15190397
QatzelOk wrote:
Except on roller coasters and motorcycles?

Our bodies weren't made to go this fast, and doing so makes us perk up like dogs do, and for similar reasons: it triggers some natural feelings unnaturally.

Dogs are able to smell thousands of smells pass by at high speed, and humans get a sexual-thrill from g-force turns and accelaration. Heroin and cocaine also imitate (but magnify 100x) some natural human feelings that come from using your body to do physical labor.

The West is heading into the dark orifice of fakeness TM and the numbness and stupidity that comes from being limited to it.



Going off to join the Amish, then, Qatzel -- ?

You've definitely carved out a social niche for yourself as 'life's pathologist'.

Hope the following helps in some way -- Wilde said that the only cure for the soul is the senses, just as the only cure for the senses is the soul.
#15190401
ckaihatsu wrote:Going off to join the Amish, then, Qatzel -- ?.

Why do the Amish, Mennonites, Hacidim, etc. reject technology, ckaihatsu?

Don't they realize how fun it is sitting in a pickup truck listening to electronic music while driving to a mall full of other SUVs? Or are they onto something that zoo-dwelling moderns have lost?
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